Quote of the day—Christopher C. Krebs

Functioning critical infrastructure is imperative during the response to the COVID-19 emergency for both public health and safety as well as community well-being. Certain critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility in these times to continue operations.

This advisory guidance and accompanying list are intended to support state, local, tribal, territorial and industry partners in identifying the critical infrastructure sectors and the essential workers needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and that need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.

Christopher C. Krebs
Director
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
March 28, 2020
MEMORANDUM ON IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS DURING COVID-19 RESPONSE
[Emphasis added.

There are some weasel words which give local area discretion to add or remove items but SAF and the NRA have been suing the politicians who have been shutting down gun stores:

I’m surprised at the lack of howling from anti-gun ownership groups. The worst I have seen so far is from the Gifford group:

Even some gun control advocates say it might not be wise to shut down federally licensed firearms dealers, whose sales require background checks. That could force buyers to use a website or seek a private sale that doesn’t require a check, making it more difficult to trace a firearm if it’s used in a crime.

There are risks to both closing a gun shop or keeping it open, said David Chipman, a retired agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“If you keep it open, there’s the risk of first-time buyers who are largely buying out of fear and panic and untrained,” said Chipman, now senior policy adviser for Giffords, a gun control advocacy group.

Gun control advocates are concerned about a large number of new owners lacking the usual access to training on how to store and handle their weapon properly. They also worry that Americans who are stocking up now eventually will sell their firearms privately.

“If we can imagine how horrible this crisis is … the people who hoarded the guns might decide six months from now – once they see no zombies around but they’ve run out of tuna and beef jerky – that they need the money to buy food,” Chipman said.

Millions of new gun owners has to be the nightmare scenario for these groups. This is a silver lining in the dark cloud of COVID-19.—Joe]

COVID-19 news you can use

How you can reuse N95 masks. It’s a very technical paper but the takeaways I got from it are:

  • The N95 mask gets most of its filtration capability from semi-permanently electrically charged particles in the mask material.
  • Attempting to clean the masks with alcohol or even alcohol vaper will SERIOUSLY degrade the filtration ability of the mask. Don’t do that!
  • “…it is reported (if it is true) that COVID-19 cannot survive at 65C for 30 minutes. Therefore, it is safe to treat the masks in hot air at 70C for 30 minutes and this process can be repeated multiple times to reuse the masks without a noticeable loss of efficiency. But be sure to suspend the masks in the hot air in the oven without contacting or putting the masks too close to a metal surface. The respirator can be hung in the oven using a wood or a plastic clip on its edge of non-breathing zone or put on a wood grill at least 6” away from a metal surface.”
  • “…our investigation showed that the charge loss on the electret is unnoticeable by sterilization using 125oC steam for three minutes.”
  • “…our investigation showed that the charge loss on the media is unnoticeable in boiling water for three minutes but stirring on the mask is not recommended to avoid its physical damage.”
  • If you plan to use water to sterilize the mask “…be sure that the inner or the outer veil of the mask is not made of paper-like tissues – paper pulp or nonwovens bond by water soluble binder, which will either dissolve in water resulting in loose fibers in the veil or the loss of its strength after exposing to water.”

To save you a minute or so of your time, 70C is 158F and 125C is 257F.

Boomershoot 2020 is canceled

At 2:45 AM this morning I sent a version of this email to all entries and the spectator and announcement list for Boomershoot:

Boomershoot 2020 is five weeks away and COVID-19 infections are still increasing across the country. I’ve had several people tell me they are not coming this year. Many states, including Idaho, have travel and social contact restrictions.

I’m canceling Boomershoot 2020.

I’m sorry to do this but both the legal and moral issues don’t give me any other options.

Regards,

Joe Huffman
Boomershoot Event Director
Cell: 208-301-4254

There has been a Boomershoot every year since 1998. It makes me sad to know that continuous record will be broken. I considered rescheduling for this fall but the end of fire season and the beginning of mud season is too unpredictable.

Quote of the day—Jeff Tomlin

We don’t know if this last two weeks has been a calm before the storm or if the social distancing and all those things that are being practiced are working.

Jeff Tomlin
EvergreenHealth CEO
March 26, 2020
Where coronavirus outbreak started in Washington state, officials see hope as cases appear to be leveling off
[EvergreenHealth is close to home.

Barb and I talked about this almost two weeks ago: Our area was first in the U.S. to get hit and so it should be the first to recover.

It probably helped that it was a suburban area like Kirkland that was ground zero. With the lower density at ground zero the spread was slower as the response was still ramping up. NYC has much a higher people density and is getting hit much harder.

We got step daughter Maddy home from Brooklyn as things were ramping up there. She’s been through the two week quarantine here and is fine. The stories she tells of the crowed conditions on the subways make it clear NYC had an impossible problem to solve without immediate and drastic action. And it looks like they missed their opportunity which Kirkland was apparently able to grasp. I expect the much lower people density made that possible.

This looks to also be an contributing factor (from the same article linked to above):

A spokesperson for EvergreenHealth said the hospital was uniquely positioned to deal with an infectious disease outbreak, owing to its status as one of Washington’s highest-rated hospitals and the presence of Francis Riedo, the hospital’s Johns Hopkins-schooled and CDC-trained medical director of infection control.

I doubt that we are in full recovery mode yet.

As soon as people without immunity start moving around again things will flair up again. Recovery will start when anti-body tests and/or vaccines are available. But the prediction that our local hospital ICUs would fill by the end of this month may have been in error. The response to the outbreak has stymied that prophecy. That’s good enough for now.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Mike

Ironic that the Chinese curse of “may you live in interesting times” has been kicked off by the Chinese government itself.

Mike
March 21, 2020
[Via email.

Excellent observation!

The rest of the email is of potential interest:

Hey Joe,

Up here in Canada, the Chief Firearms Officer for Ontario (the province I live in) has just suspended the required Firearms Safety Courses one needs to take to be able to APPLY for a firearms license. Just like that, if you didn’t have a gun license at this point, you’ll have to ride out the coming storm with whatever is at hand, it would seem.

Considering someone pulled a gun on another person who was apparently looking at them funny, in the liberal stronghold of Toronto, no less, things should get mighty interesting over the next few weeks (days?).

Ironic that the Chinese curse of “may you live in interesting times” has been kicked off by the Chinese government itself.

Thanks for your time,

Mike

It’s interesting the response some of the political jurisdictions in the U.S. have taken. Two movies on one screen.

According to SAF (emphasis added):

SAF: ILLINOIS GOV. SETS EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS ON GUN, AMMUNITION STORES

BELLEVUE, WA — The Second Amendment Foundation today applauded Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for including firearm and ammunition suppliers on the list of “essential businesses and operations” that will remain open during the Prairie State’s “Shelter-In-Place” emergency due to the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus emergency.

“When an anti-gun Democrat governor declares that essential businesses include firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for the purposes of safety and security, that is a really big deal,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Every governor should copy the Illinois example when issuing ‘shelter-in-place’ and business closure orders in the face of the Coronavirus.”

Three other states are already under sweeping emergency orders as the nation copes with the Coronavirus pandemic. They are New York, Pennsylvania and California.

“Depending upon how long this emergency continues,” Gottlieb observed, “many Americans may find themselves facing situations where they will need to be their own first responders. Gov. Pritzker obviously understands this, and we encourage the governors of all other states to recognize this isn’t an issue of party politics but of personal and community safety.”

Executive Order 2020-10 directs all individuals living within the state of Illinois to stay at home, except for “Essential Activities, Essential Government Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses and Operations.” These include information technology equipment manufacturers and suppliers, hardware, food, cleaning supplies, and “firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security,” the order says.

“We are all in this together,” Gottlieb stated, “and we will make it through, together, as well. Stay safe, stay well and stay ready.”

And in the San Francisco Bay Area, of course, gun stores are not considered essential. Nevermind, as pointed out by author David Codrea, in the article:

What about gun stores?  If we’re talking that which is essential, what is it the Founders deemed “necessary to the security of a free State”?

The politicians responsible for issuing such an order should be prosecuted.—Joe]

News you can use

I had some allergy symptoms that woke me up the other night. But I’m familiar enough with my pollen allergies that I wasn’t too worried about it being COVID-19. The symptoms were gone in a few hours and everything is good. But had I not been so sure this would have been useful:

Clara, a coronavirus Self-Checker – The CDC has developed a new online bot nicknamed Clara designed to help people check whether they may have symptoms.  The bot is not intended to diagnose diseases but help users make decisions about whether they need to seek appropriate medical care by asking a series of questions to establish the level of illness being experienced.  Clara can be found at:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/index.html.

Quote of the day—Bruce S. Ticker

Who could have predicted that gun control could not be more crucial? Of course, Republicans will likely deny that the coronavirus spread makes gun control compulsory, but it sure does.

Bruce S. Ticker
March 21, 2020
Are there enough hospital beds for Covid-19 and gun victims?
[I have an observation to share. I have noticed smart, but ignorant, people are incredibly resourceful in maintaining their ignorant, prejudiced beliefs. I have sometimes been absolutely jaw dropping flabbergasted at the things people come up with.

This is one of those times.—Joe]

Quote of the day—William Booth

The Imperial College group reported that if nothing was done by governments and individuals and the pandemic remained uncontrolled, then 510,000 would die in Britain and 2.2 million in the United States over the course of the outbreak.

These kinds of numbers are deeply concerning for countries with top-drawer health-care systems. They are terrifying for less-developed countries, global health experts say.

If Britain and the United States pursued much more ambitious measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, to slow but not necessarily stop epidemic over the coming few months, they could reduce mortality by half, to 260,000 people in the United Kingdom and 1.1 million in the United States.

Finally, if the British government quickly went all-out to suppress viral spread — aiming to reverse epidemic growth and reduce the case load to a low level — then the number of dead in the country could drop to below 20,000. To do this, the researchers said, Britain would have to enforce social distancing for the entire population, isolate all cases, demand household quarantines of households where anyone is sick, and close all schools and universities — and do this not for weeks but for 12 to 18 months, until a vaccine is available.

William Booth
March 17, 2020
A chilling scientific paper helped upend U.S. and U.K. coronavirus strategies
[Welcome to the new normal.

This could permanently change all industrialized societies. High population densities, mass transit, and high density offices will be far less attractive to the population at large. The effect could last for a generation or more. How does this affect the political climate?

Live entertainment, restaurants, and the travel industry are going to take a tremendous hit which will ripple throughout society.

We live in interesting times.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Alan Gottlieb

We sued New Orleans then, and we’ll do it again. The presence of a nasty disease does not suspend any part of the Bill of Rights, no matter what some municipal, state or even federal politician may think.

While we certainly recognize the seriousness of this virus and its ability to spread rapidly. Treating Covid-19 and taking steps to prevent it from infecting more people has nothing at all to do with the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.

Alan Gottlieb
March 16, 2020
SAF TO N.O. MAYOR CANTRELL: ‘WE SUED CITY ONCE, WE’LL DO IT AGAIN’
[There probably some minor points that could be quibbled about (freedom of assembly and travel comes to mind) but the bottom line remains untouched. Politicians have no business infringing upon the specific enumerated right to keep and bear arms any emergency circumstances that I can think of.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Lires

I think the one satisfying thing about this pandemic is watching all the anti-gunners in my area now freak out and scramble to buy guns and ammunition then complaining how it’s not as easy as they thought to obtain shit.

Lires
March 23, 2019
Posted on the IGN boards thread Lets have a thread about gun control for old times sake.
[There is that. And it is my belief that becoming a gun owner contributes to a change in mindset. You become more inclined to think in terms of self-reliance and individuality rather than government providing for your needs and identifying as part of the collective.

So, there is a least one “silver lining” in the cloud hanging over our heads.—Joe]

Boomershoot 2020 and COVID-19

Too long, didn’t read, version: I’m going to wait and see until the end of the month before making the decision to cancel or not. The refund policy is here: https://entry.boomershoot.com/Refunds.aspx


As I live just a few minutes from ground zero in the U.S. I’m just as, or more concerned, than the typical Boomershoot participant regarding COVID-19.

I’ve talked to many people about what we should do in regards to Boomershoot 2020.

There are several components to Boomershoot. If the Federal guidelines remain in place and we adhere to them, then the Boomershoot dinner will be canceled.

One could make the case that the rest of the event is not at all that serious of a risk. People are outside with good air flow and, except for the portable toilets, not sharing door knobs or other transfer surfaces. With a big stash of disinfecting wipe the portable toilet point of risk could be managed.

There is another component that is of more concern and not as easily mitigated. Our target production facility has very tight quarters. I have dramatically improved the air filtration since last year but still it’s not nearly as good as I think it should be to be safe if someone were contagious. To top that concern off is the fact that two essential staff members are in the group considered “high risk”.

This leads me to conclude that unless things get remarkably better we should cancel the event.

My day job is working on a Cyber Threat Intelligence team. I get access to other types of threat intel as well. Last week I listened in on a call with DHS regarding COVID-19. There wasn’t any information that wasn’t already public but it was packaged a little bit better. I have also talked to a couple sources that have information that hasn’t been widely circulated. While still technically public information this information leads me to some conclusions.

  1. My expectation is that the seriousness of the situation will continue to get worse for some undetermined amount of time. It may be that summer weather will slow or even stop the spread of the virus. The threat, however, will continue to be significant for months, not just a few weeks.
  2. While things will get worse it’s not going to be life threatening to most people outside of the high risk groups.
  3. Avoiding contact with contagious people is extremely important for people at high risk. Some hospitals in the Seattle area are already at nearly full capacity and are sending injured emergency patients, sometimes, hundreds of miles away to hospitals without a COVID-19 burden.

What this means to me is that if we get some hot summer like weather for the next two weeks and things look summer like at Boomershoot things may be good enough that I will not cancel Boomershoot. I don’t think this will be the case but there is no harm in waiting. We are continuing to get the last of the supplies and will be able to put on a stellar event should we decide to continue.

The refund details are here. Basically, if the event is canceled you will get the option of full credit for next year or a refund of 95% of your credit card payment (details differ for a few people, read the policy). Your choice.

If you have questions or concerns I have not addressed here please send me an email or give me a call.

Joe Huffman
Boomershoot Event Director
Cell: 208-301-4254

COVID-19 exemption to the Bill of Rights

Via email from Jason.

Apparently there is a COVID-19 exemption to the Bill of Rights. At least a judge found one. I just looked at my copy of the BoR and didn’t find it. But I guess Federal Judges just have better eyesight than I do. Here is what he said:

Given the significant number of identified and projected cases of COVID-19 in this
District and the severity of risk posed to the public, and given the above public health
recommendations from local public health authorities, it is hereby ORDERED that, effective
Monday, March 9, 2020:

1) All civil and criminal matters scheduled for an in-Court appearance before any district or magistrate judge in the Seattle or Tacoma Courthouses, including any associated
deadlines, are CONTINUED pending further Order of the Court;

2) All grand jury proceedings in this District are CONTINUED pending further Order of the Court;

3) With regard to criminal matters, due to the Court’s reduced ability to obtain an adequate spectrum of jurors and the effect of the above public health
recommendations on the availability of counsel and Court staff to be present in the
courtroom, the time period of the continuances implemented by this General Order
will be excluded under the Speedy Trial Act, as the Court specifically finds that the
ends of justice served by ordering the continuances outweigh the best interests of the public and any defendant’s right to a speedy trial, pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§3161(h)(7)(A);

4) Case-by-case exceptions to the continuances provided herein may be ordered for nonjury matters at the discretion of the Court after consultation with counsel;

5) This Order does not affect the Court’s consideration of civil or criminal motions that can be resolved without oral argument.

Here is the clause in Federal Law he refers to:

A) Any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by any judge on his own motion or at the request of the defendant or his counsel or at the request of the attorney for the Government, if the judge granted such continuance on the basis of his findings that the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial. No such period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by the court in accordance with this paragraph shall be excludable under this subsection unless the court sets forth, in the record of the case, either orally or in writing, its reasons for finding that the ends of justice served by the granting of such continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.

I understand the practical matters involved. And I’m not sure I disagree with the action taken. But it does worry me that such precedence will be misused in the future.

How many times have we heard about “The Gun Violence Epidemic”?

Fill in the dots as appropriate.

Mandatory “social distancing”?

Hmmm…

Gov. Inslee says ‘mandatory measures’ under consideration to combat coronavirus in Washington

Since the novel coronavirus emerged as a threat in Washington, officials have sought to keep people here from infecting each other by offering advice, health care and other assistance. What they haven’t yet done to slow the spread of the virus is tell residents what they can and can’t do.

That could change at some point, however.

Officials are considering mandatory measures for social distancing as part of the state’s effort to combat the outbreak, Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday.

Barb, my oldest daughter, her spouse, and I, all in Bellevue, have been doing our part for the last week. We have been working from home and minimizing contact outside our homes. We are also prepared for several more weeks as needed.

We live in interesting times.

Working from home

Health officials in King County (Seattle area) are recommending, among other things:

Workplaces should enact measures that allow people who can work from home to do so.

About 5:00 PM on Wednesday a blog reader told me::

Microsoft just told all employees who can WFH to do so until March 25

My employer said something similar yesterday. My team started WFH the day before that.

I can work from home for almost everything except meetings where someone is likely to be using a real whiteboard (we have virtual whiteboards in some conference rooms).

My first thought was, “Will the VPNs fall over?” So far both my MS contact and I have had not had any problems with our Internet connections to work. I suspect they have self-scaling VPNs.

Barb has been working from home exclusively for years now. It’s a little odd for both of us to be working from home every day. It’s nice but it just feels a little odd to only see each other for such extended periods. I wonder how it will feel after three weeks.

Yesterday I asked Barb if we are going to get “cabin fever” and get irritable or something. She thinks she will be okay as long as she doesn’t feel physically trapped as in being snowed in or something.

We’ll probably will go for walks occasionally. That should help and it should be safe as long as we don’t have contact with other people.

Quote of the day—Caren Park

admit it, joe, it’s funny.

image

Caren Park
March 4, 2020
Comment to my Facebook post about someone intending to deliberately infect people with COVID-19
[The Facebook post links to this blog post.

About three hours later Caren’s comment, my response to her, and Kathy Jackson’s response are all inaccessible to me.

My response to Caren:

I don’t see someone saying they will deliberately attempt to infect others, of any demographic, with any deadly disease as funny.

Would it be funny if they said they were going to attend every LGBT rally they could? How about someone with HIV deliberately having sexual contact with people for the purposes of infecting them?

Sure, there are going to be people at any event that don’t know they are carrying a contagious disease. But that is a much different thing than doing it with the intention of harming others.

I’ve known Caren for over 35 years. We’ve always had differences in political leanings. But never, that I recall, difference of substance regarding basic human decency.

The politics of this country have skewed peoples thinking several standard deviations away from what I have perceived the norm to be.—Joe]